Oxford

Oxford grooming sex case: Brothers jailed for life

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Media captionThames Valley Police say they are speaking to 50 people in continuing inquiries

Two pairs of brothers from Oxford who were among seven men who abused girls as part of a sadistic sex grooming ring have been jailed for life.

Mohammed Karrar, 38, and brother Bassam Karrar, 34, will serve a minimum of 20 years and 15 years respectively.

Brothers Akhtar Doghar, 32, and Anjum Doghar, 31, were both given minimum terms of 17 years, at the Old Bailey.

The men's offences included child rape and trafficking, between 2004 and 2012. A fifth man was also jailed for life.

Kamar Jamil, 27, who was found guilty of charges including rape and arranging child prostitution, was told he would serve at least 12 years.

'Extreme depravity'

Jurors heard at the men's trial at the Old Bailey how six girls, aged at the time between 11 and 15, were plied with alcohol and drugs before being forced to perform sex acts.

Some were beaten and burned.

The court heard how the men - two of east African origin and five of Pakistani origin - identified vulnerable girls for abuse and then groomed each one of them until they were under the control of the gang.

They were then each either abused by the men themselves, given to the men's friends or offered at a price to others who were not on trial.

The girls were mostly chosen because their unsettled or troubled lives made them easier to manipulate.

Judge Peter Rook, sentencing, said Jamil, the Dogar brothers and the Karrar brothers abused vulnerable girls in Oxford over a long period, and on occasions the "depravity was extreme".

The abuse started in Oxford but some victims were later taken to other parts of the country to be offered to other men who were in contact with the gang.

'Enormous courage'

The court heard the victims were tied up, burnt, suffocated, beaten and urinated upon, and would return to Oxford bleeding, injured and carrying sexually-transmitted infections.

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Media captionIn a statement read by police, the family thanked the girl for "finding the strength" to speak out

Judge Rook said the men had blighted their victims' lives and robbed them of their adolescence.

He said: "These six girls have shown enormous courage in coming to the Old Bailey to give evidence, knowing they would be accused of lying, knowing they would have to relive their ordeals, knowing they have not been believed in the past."

Judge Rook said he hoped the victims' courage would act as a deterrent to other men but also ensure the appropriate authorities would not fail in future to take action in the face of such activity.

Two more men, Assad Hussain, 32, and Zeeshan Ahmed, were each jailed for seven years for two counts of sexual activity with a child.

Talking about the abuse suffered by one of the victims, Judge Rook told Jamil and the Dogar brothers, who were convicted of abusing her: "You took her soul. She felt as though it had been ripped out. You put her parents through years of sheer torture."

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Media captionVictim: "I was scared to say no"

In total, nine men had denied charges including rape, arranging child prostitution and trafficking between 2004 and 2012. Two were acquitted of all charges.

Numerous opportunities to catch members of the gang are believed to have been missed.

Thames Valley Police chief constable Sara Thornton has previously apologised for the delay in securing convictions against the seven men.

Ms Thornton admitted a joint investigation did not start until 2011, despite complaints from victims.

'Ponderous and accusatory'

The force has since set up Kingfisher, a specialist unit to deal with such cases,

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said there had been a "systematic failure" by Oxfordshire County Council to stop the gang earlier and protect the victims, who had raised the alarm on several occasions.

Oxfordshire County Council said a serious case review was being carried out by the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board.

A council spokesman said: "We would like to praise the courage of the victims for giving evidence in court that has led to these sentences, and we are sorry we did not stop it sooner."

Javed Khan, of independent charity Victim Support, said the control exerted by the men amounted to "modern-day slavery".

Andy Dipper, from Oxford Community Against Trafficking, said the organisation would apply pressure to ensure changes to the justice and care systems.

"Victims are being stigmatised and discouraged from reporting their horrific abuse because of a system which is ponderous, accusatory and further traumatises them," he said.

Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, said: "Care homes, the police, social workers and health workers all need to get better at spotting the signs of abuse.

"And they need to urgently change their attitude to vulnerable, exploited teenage girls, who are being routinely dismissed as 'troublesome' or 'promiscuous' or as having made lifestyle choices."

'More victim-focused'

Sam Monaghan, director of children's services at children's charity Barnardo's, said: "These men were able to abuse children for eight years. That can't be allowed to happen again.

"A fundamental shift in the collective mindset is needed at every level of the justice system."

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Media captionSimon Morton, Thames Valley Police: "This shows every victim in the country justice can work for them"

Policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green said the case showed more should be done to protect vulnerable children.

He said: "A new Home Office-led group will look at how to better identify those at risk and create a more victim-focused culture within the police, health and children's services.

"But our prime responsibility is, of course, stopping abuse before it starts.

"The group will be working to target the organised crime networks that perpetrate the sort of systematic abuse we have seen in Oxford."

  • Kamar Jamil, formerly of Aldrich Road, Oxford, was found guilty of five counts of rape, two counts of conspiracy to rape and one count of arranging child prostitution
  • Akhtar Dogar, of Tawney Street, Oxford, was found guilty of five counts of rape, three counts of conspiracy to rape, two counts of child prostitution and one count of trafficking
  • Anjum Dogar, of Tawney Street, Oxford, was found guilty of three counts of rape, two counts of child prostitution, three counts of conspiracy to rape and one count of trafficking
  • Assad Hussain, of Ashurst Way, Oxford, was found not guilty of rape and guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child
  • Mohammed Karrar, of Kames Close, Oxford, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to rape, four counts of rape of a child, one count of using an instrument to procure miscarriage, two counts of trafficking, one count of assault of a child by penetration, two counts of child prostitution, three counts of rape, two counts of conspiracy to rape a child and one count of supplying a class A drug
  • Bassam Karrar, of Hundred Acres Close, Oxford, was found guilty of two counts of rape, one count of rape of a child, two counts of conspiracy to rape a child, two counts of child prostitution, one count of trafficking and one count of conspiracy to rape
  • Zeeshan Ahmed, of Palmer Road, Oxford, was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child

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